We shouldn't stoop so low into the world's ways anymore. Be
imitators of God--not other people. Reflect Him to the extent
that people see God in your life. To imitate God we need to look
at how Jesus lived. Paul gives some pointers in verse 2 of Ephesians
5. Point 1: "and live a life of love, just as Christ loved
us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice
to God." We must walk in love, love for others. In many aspects
of our love, we find that others may do what we may not. The burnt
offering pictures complete sacrifice to God. That is what Jesus
did for us. Point 2: The second point Paul brings out is that
we must walk in purity, living a life of purity. Verses 3-7, "But
among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality,
or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper
for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish
talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such
a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ
and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because
of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
Therefore do not be partners with them." The Bible teaches
us what to do with these things in your life. We as Christians
have a high calling. Don't degrade your body and mind. I Thessalonians
"Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to
please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge
you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what
instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It
is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid
sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his
own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate
lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter
no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The
Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told
you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but
to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction
does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit Make
it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business
and to work with your hands, jus as we told you, so that your
daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will
not be dependent on anybody." James 1:26-27. "If anyone considers
himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue,
he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that
God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look
after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself
from being polluted by the world."
Point 3: God will show you what you really are as a first step
to purifying you. James 1:22-25. "Do not merely listen to the
word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens
to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks
at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away
and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks
intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues
to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he
will be blessed in what he does." As Pastor Chuck Smith was saying
about the law of God, by looking at it, it shows us where the
sin is, for sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4).
And then when we see the sin in our lives we go to Jesus for help
to overcome the sin we have discovered by looking at God's law.
Jesus through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit helps us to overcome
the sin in our lives. The law all by itself, coupled to our own
human efforts will never cure us of the sin. Jesus must do it
in us by the Holy Spirit. The law is important and we must keep
it, but we can only keep it in and through Jesus in us by the
Holy Spirit. We're not under grace so that sin can abound. Paul
say's to that idea, "God forbid!"
Romans 6:1-2. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin
that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who are dead
to sin live any longer in it?"
We're not under grace so we can continue in sin, habitual sin,
but we're under grace so that we can be overcoming our habitual
sinning under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit who is
working in us to perform God's will. It's not how high we jump
for God. God says if you want holiness, obey me.
Follow Joseph's example. Genesis 39:1-20. "Now Joseph had been
taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh's
officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites
who had taken him there. The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered,
and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master
saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success
in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became
his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and
he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he
put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the
Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph.
The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both
in the house and in the field. So he left in Joseph's care everything
he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with
anything except the food he ate.
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his
master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with
me!" But he refused. "With me in charge," he told her, "my master
does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything
he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this
house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except
you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked
thing and sin against God?" And though she spoke to Joseph day
after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none
of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak
and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her
hand and ran out of the house.
When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run
out of the house, she called her household servants. "Look," she
said to them, "this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport
of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. When
he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran
out of the house."
She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. Then
she told him this story: "That Hebrew slave you brought us came
to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help,
he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house."
When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, "This
is how your slave treated me," he burned with anger. Joseph's
master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's
prisoners were confined."
We as Christians aren't sinless, but as we walk with Jesus we
should sin less, and less, and less and less.
Ephesians 5:5-6, "For this you can be sure: No immoral, impure
or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance
in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with
empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those
who are disobedient." Those that live habitually in sin and
immorality will not inherit eternal life. We must walk as children
of light. The light of the Lord shows you what is pleasing to
the Lord and what isn't. Verses 8-14, "For you were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for
the fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness and
truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do
with fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For
it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is
light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: 'Wake
up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'" Joseph
knew that God's eye was on him all the time. The most important
part of personal evangelism is how we live our lives. People should
see you as different. Verse 15-21, "Be very careful, then,
how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every
opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish,
but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine,
which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing
and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks
to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." Be
filled with the Spirit means being yielded to God's Spirit. Being
filled makes us want to sing praises and hymns. It makes us thankful,
vs. 20. It makes us rightly submissive to others, vs. 21.
1 John 1:5-7. "This is the message we have heard from him and
declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness [i.e.
habitual sin], we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we
walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with
one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from